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Cosmos Incorporated Paperback – May 20, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this labored vision of a future dystopia, amnesiac Sergei Plotkin finds himself torn between the mission planted in his brain by unknown overlords and the desire to protect his creator. As he travels through computer-controlled UniWorld, Plotkin slowly regains conflicting memories and learns he is meant to kill Grand Junction spaceport's mayor. While plotting homicide and investigating illegal Christians, Plotkin meets Vivian McNellis, whose genetic abnormalities give her an angel's power to rewrite the world. Learning that Vivian created him and is now dying from exposure to her metaphysical opposite, Plotkin abandons his mission, determined to eliminate the threat and save Vivian's life. Dantec, winner of France's Prix de I'Imaginaire for Les racines du mal, writes harsh, choppy prose—not improved by Kover's translation—and the convoluted plot often grinds to a halt amid technical jargon, discourse on society's devolution and abstruse narrative philosophy. (May)
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From Booklist

France’s reigning master of cyberpunk is finally being translated into English. First published in 2005, this densely plotted, dystopian thriller takes place in earth’s not-so-distant future, after biological and nuclear warfare have devastated the populace and a cybernetic entity, Uniworld, has assumed control of governmental affairs. Those who can afford it move offworld to the inhabited Orbital Ring. To slip past Uniworld’s brain scanners, visiting Ring citizen Sergei Plotnik has much of his memory wiped before passing through earth’s immigration checkpoints. As Plotnik approaches his ultimate destination of Grand Junction, buried neural implants reveal his assignment to murder the Vegas-like city’s mayor while raising unsettling questions about his true identity and ties to the Mafia-like organization the Order of the Red Star. Dantec’s focus on humanity’s technological enslavement in an unraveling future society inevitably invites comparisons to the milieus of William Gibson’s fiction, yet Dantec has a vision all his own, powerful enough to attract and hold a large fan base and stimulate the translation of his entire oeuvre. --Carl Hays

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034549993X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345499936
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
The war to end all wars seems an accurate description as sometime in the near future, the hostilities devastated the planet leaving one and half billion survivors to scurry for sustenance on a planet none recognize. Cities are dead and continents radically altered as rising oceans pushed the coastline inland. Multiple nations vanished and there is one world-wide ruling government through a humongous computer network that tracks the movement of everyone.

The Russian-American Mafia assigns Red Star Order assassin Sergei Diego Plotkin to travel from Russia to Grand Junction, but to do so he must cross security checkpoints where his memories would betray his mission to kill the town mayor Orville Blackburn. Thus much of his recall is erased as the mob needs to make an example of the mayor for breaking his pledge to them. He arrives in Grand Junction, site of one of the last operating cosmodromes where one can purchase a Golden Track (ticket) on a space ship to the Orbital Rim, Mars or Luna colonies. Plotkin and his AI Melatron plan the scheme including who will take the fall for the assassination. Then he meets dying Vivian McNellis; he revises his mission to get her to the rim though his employers will come after him.

This post apocalypse tale plays two themes. First there is the paid hitman who will remind readers of the Schwarzenegger character in the movie Total Recall; Vivian makes him a better person, but she also is much more and much less than she seems. Besides the lead characters with a support cast that showcases the pair and their environment, there is also an overarching somewhat in the background theme of a dying earth. Readers will relish this deep look at a grim future yet there remains a glimmer of hope that a Divine Plan is at work.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marco Herreras on May 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have not read the english translation but the original in french, a few years ago; I hope the translation is up to the task, since Dantec's use of the language is almost joycean and unique.
This is (imho) without doubt Maurice Dantec's best work, along with Grand Junction, the following novel which closes the story (although each can be read separately and there is by no means a "to be continued" effect at the end of Cosmos Incorporated).
There are some obvious influences and tributes here, like William Gibson and Philip K. Dick, but also a lot of less obvious, less popular ones, and maybe much more enriching, like Gunther Anders, Michel Houellebecq, Jean Baudrillard or Moebius&Jodorowski, and even Duns Scott.
This is not your typical mass market science-fiction/crime fiction novel. It features a complex plot with a staggering richly textured and coherent universe, where not a single detail is missing; geography, geopolitics, moeurs, neologisms, quotes; they all help to actually feel the world of 2057 Dantec is bringing to us.
This a breaking work, outstanding and almost defying categorization;
I would say it is one of the best science-fiction books I've ever read; definitely a novel worth reading, and a cornerstone of true 21st century original literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By santiago on November 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Vivid and solid not so far future , fascinating high tec nuances, a killer travels across the laserosphera hidding in his dna some secret program to Access his way to the target. Mutants, zombis, russians and islam inc. mafia. Pornography of social engineering at its most.
Traslation is good. Great book, great autor; i hope Dantec works are translated to spanish soon.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Francophile on May 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've just devoured the book and am happy to say that the English translation lives up to the French original in every way. It's gorgeously written and captures the unique quality of Dantec's prose; rough and choppy one minute, beautifully descriptive and dreamy the next. The plot itself is a slow build and reading the climax is like reaching the crest of a wave and being flooded with realization and appreciation of the full impact of the book's message. It is part science fiction, part philosophy, part theology. I would rate it as one of the most important works of sci-fi of the millennium so far. Five stars...plus!
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ansible on August 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I really tried with this book, but after 244 pages I still have no idea what is going on.

I read a lot of Sci Fi. I love Sci Fi. But this book took 200 pages just to finally define the premise it is based on. You have a person who has no history coming to a city where he is supposed to assassinate someone. Then he finds out he was created from someone's mind when she conjured him up as part of her effort to move herself and her brother from some prison camp in Asia to a city in North America. She dreams it and all of a sudden she is not longer in the prison camp and has moved into a hotel halfway around the world.

Besides this ridiculous premise, there are pages and pages of prose that make no sense. Save your money.
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